Monday, November 11, 2019

"The Science of Living Longer", supermarket book from Time

Take a look at a special edition of “Time”, “The Science of Living Longer”, in supermarkets until around the end of November.

The editors are Siobhan O’Connor and Jeffrey Kluger.

There are 16 photoessays or chapters, divided among three sections, “Mind”, “Body”, “Life”. There are 96 pages (a common length for this brand). 
In Chapter 1 (Alice Park), there is a chart on pp 16-18 showing how different parts of the human body age.

One surprising finding, collagen in the skin that gives smoothness and elasticity declines 1% a year. That means by age 30 it would have declined more than 12%.  Obviously from general observation, this seems to be quite variable.  Beto O’Rourke, at 47, looks young (being thin helps).  Too much sun probably accelerates it.  The replacement of muscle with fat accelerates after age 40 (which is about when most major league baseball careers end).  Brain concentration, for chess players for example, hits its summer solstice from ages 25-28.  But real decline may tend to start at around age 70 (without an actual disease like Alzheimer’s).  There are other oddities not often discussed openly, like the fact that many (especially white) men typically notice loss of hair from their legs by age 40. In the past, cigarette smoking may have made this problem much worse. This may be a little more common for men who go bald (on the pate) genetically, or when men are overweight.

On brain maturity, because the brain is still “pruning” and focusing on what it is good at, mental illness has become a risk in the age 18-25 group.

On p, 68-70, Dave Beal says that the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St Paul MN, is one of the best cities for longevity (after a few blue zones in Italy and in California’s central valley). I lived there 1997-2003 and just revisited.

People live longer if they age in the area where they grew up.  People tend to return to earlier memories or contacts, even after a long adult life.
Long-term married (and never divorced) men tend to live longer than single or divorced men, and that is less true for women.  It may be true for gay male couples.  While never married men tend to fare worse, there are remarkable exceptions, such as individualists or artists or scientists very focused on their own work.

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